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Windows 8.1 Surges Past XP in OS Market

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Windows XP has taken yet another tumble in its market share, being overtaken by both Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, as users purchase new computers heading into this year's holiday season.

In November, Windows XP held a market share of 13.57 percent, down a whopping 3.6 points from its 17.18 percent market share in October.

Despite the overtaking of Windows XP, Windows 8 and 8.1 are still far behind Windows 7, which held a massive market share of 53.7 percent as of November. Windows 7 continues to climb in its market share, up from 53 percent in October, but this is likely to stop once Windows 10 is finally released.

"Following a somewhat mixed reaction to Windows 8, Windows 8.1 has made steady progress since its launch," said Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, the company that released the statistics. "It passed Windows 8 in August and has now passed Windows XP in November. The growth trajectory for Windows 8.1 has been positive, but if current trends continue it will not topple Windows 7 before Windows 10 is launched in 2015."

The numbers are essentially calculated by tracking operating systems that access Internet pages.

Windows XP has been toppling since the start of the year. At the beginning of 2014 the operating system had around three times the market share of Windows 8 and 8.1. Now, it seems as though the OS is becoming more and more irrelevant, even for businesses that have long held Windows XP as a primary operating system.

Another possible reason for the rapid decrease in those using Windows XP is the fact that Microsoft cut support for the aging operating system in April, meaning it is no longer getting bug fixes or updates. Because of this the company is pushing users to adopt newer operating systems, but many are likely holding out until the release of Windows 10.

Microsoft has given consumers a glimpse of its upcoming operating system, Windows 10, in the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which shows the company is backing away from the Windows 8 look and combining Windows 8 and Windows 7 in a more user-friendly and traditional Windows experience. The company is expected to release a consumer preview in early 2015, possibly even in January.

Apple's operating systems continue to make their way up the charts in market share. OS X in general held 8.11 percent of the market, up from 7 percent last year. OS X 10.9 is the most-used Apple operating system with a 2.79 percent market share. OS X 10.10 follows in second place, with a 2.66 percent market share.

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